|Angie Bray - Changes to Incapacity Benefit|
The Ealing Central and Acton MP writes
From April this year a national reassessment of incapacity benefits will begin and letters will start arriving through letterboxes from the local Jobcentre Plus. Of the 2.6 million on incapacity benefits around 1.5 million people will be reassessed over a three year period.
Fundamentally, this process is born of the Coalition Government’s desire to work out, once and for all, just who is in need of permanent support. It will also help address the burgeoning costs of providing incapacity benefits, which now stand at £13bn a year.
It is a very simple, straightforward process that will finally identify who might be able to return to work and hold down a job and those who genuinely cannot. The Work Programme that this reassessment will be a part of, will offer personalised support for those found able to work as they attempt to find a job.
The Government’s ambition is to get as many people back into work as possible – something that can only be beneficial for everyone. So, this process is also driven by the view that work is good and that people everywhere benefit from having a job if they possibly can.
However, people who are genuinely in need of permanent support will continue to receive support. Moreover, people who already claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and people due to reach state pension age before April 2014 will not be affected – and those who are subsequently offered ESA after their assessment will find it a more generous payment than is currently available.
This is not a process that should unduly worry anyone. It is a simple, straightforward procedure, built around a fair assessment with several tiers of appeal, with a final appeal to an independent tribunal. If anyone has any questions, I would be more than happy to discuss the reassessment further and can be contacted by email on:
23rd March 2011